Study Guide

Fargo Scene 1

Scene 1

Scene 1

  • The movie begins with an opening text, a flat-out lie informing us that what we're about to see is based on true events that happened in Minnesota in 1987.
  • Next, a car towing another car drives on a highway through the snowy landscape.
  • Except for the car slowly emerging out of the desolate scene, there's nothing else in sight.
  • The driver heads to a tavern where he meets with two men, introducing himself as Jerry Lundegaard.
  • The men, Carl Showalter and Gaear Grimsrud, are annoyed, since Jerry's apparently an hour late. Jerry says he's here at the time he said he'd be.
  • Guess there was a misunderstanding. Foreshadowing alert: the first of many things that go wrong.
  • They get down to business. Jerry's friend Shep Proudfoot recommended these two guys as criminal associates for a job Jerry needs them to do: he wants them to kidnap his wife. The plan is for them to ask for ransom money, which Jerry will get from his rich father-in-law.
  • Jerry will collect the money, give the kidnappers an $80,000 payoff and he'll throw in the car he's brought along with him, an Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera.
  • This would be a killer (pun intended) product placement if they hadn't stopped making Cieras years ago.
  • They'll get half the money now and half later. Jerry will keep part of the ransom money and get Jean back unharmed.
  • Jerry won't tell the men why he needs the money.
  • Carl wants to know, but eventually caves and agrees to do the job.

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